World News

Finnish neo-Nazi jailed after death of man he attacked

Jesse Torniainen, a member of the Finnish neo-Nazi group Finnish Resistance Movement (FRM), who kicked a man in the chest during a FRM demonstration, is pictured during his trial in Helsinki District Court, Finland December 21, 2016. Picture taken December 21, 2016. Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen/via REUTERS

HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish member of a neo-Nazi group was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail after the death of a 28-year-old man he had assaulted during a demonstration in Helsinki.

The Finnish national had stopped in front of the group in September and spat on the ground. A member of the group, Jesse Torniainen, kicked the man in the chest and he fell to the ground and hit his head.

Helsinki district court heard the man spent the following days in hospital but then left against the advice of doctors and used narcotics. He died six days after the assault.

Torniainen admitted assault but denied he had caused the man’s death.

The court dropped charges of aggravated manslaughter, concluding it was unclear whether the man’s own actions had contributed to his death.

The prosecutor said she would likely appeal the verdict.

Torniainen, 26, is a member of the Nordic Resistance Movement, a far-right group the Finnish intelligence service says aims to create a national socialist state. Police have said they will file a lawsuit to shut down the movement.

Anti-immigrant sentiment has been on the rise in Finland, a country of 5.5 million where about 32,000 migrants and refugees arrived last year.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Janet Lawrence